Carta - The Sand Collector’s Dream - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Carta - The Sand Collector’s Dream

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2017-08-11

Some bands and artists just pass you by undeservedly. It can be hard in these days of information glut to catch everybody that deserves your attention. San Francisco’s Carta seems to be one of those bands. The Sand Collector’s Dream is their fourth album, and finding any meaningful information about them could involve some serious research. But, you don’t involve yourself in something like that if you don’t think the music you’ve heard deserves it. In my book, Carta and their new album certainly merit the time.

By the sound of The Sand Collector’s Dream, Carta is a very interesting musical proposition, and a very hard one to put a tag on. Some have tried to dub it as ambient shoegaze, but then, in many ways, shoegaze is inherently ambient anyway. Although you should never rely on the lofty claims that various company press releases are filled with, Carta seems to be a rarity in that respect. At one point, the release claims that the band is a missing link between Eno’s Another Green World and Young Marble Giants.

The main attraction for me, however, lies with the dual vocals of bassist Sacha Galvagna and Odessa Chen. Galvagna’s voice sounds like a cross between a sadder Lee Hazelwood and a less sinister Michael Gira, or in other words: Stuart Staples of Tindersticks. Chen, on the other hand, is in the range of a slightly less sultry Hope Sandoval, but only slightly.This vocal combination works charmingly, and the founders and original members Kyle Monday and Jon DeRosa chip in as well.

This in no way means that the instrumental side of the album is lagging in any way. The guitar sound is clean and precise, with none of the buzzing distortion that you could tie to shoegaze, and the addition of incidental instruments like vibes give the music that extra touch it needs. In general, the band explains their sound as, “paranoid inner-vacuum micro dub and ruminative post-space hypo-drone.” I’ve no idea what that means, but it sounds quite like a tongue-in-cheek statement. Then again, strictly categorizing any music, including Carta’s, is bound to provoke such a reaction from the musicians.

All in all, the album is musically and vocally strong throughout, and trying to pin it down might only detract you from enjoying all the nuances it presents. I’m sure to seek out the previous three, and when you hear The Sand Collector’s Dream, you are sure to do the same.



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